The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. 2017. Balzer + Bray. 469 pages. [Source: public library.] Ever so often, a book’s hype will precede itself in a way that makes it impossible to ignore, no matter how oblivious I am. The first I’d heard about The Hate U Give was when news of its film adaptation came out.  That Amandla Stendberg would play the protagonist piqued my interest. But it wasn’t until everyone around me – book lover or not — started buzzing about it that I picked it up. My bad. I’ve since learned my lesson. The Hate U Give is centered on Starr, a 16-year-old black teen who straddles the line between two worlds: Garden Heights Starr is the daughter of a former gang member who struggles to find her place in her urban neighborhood and Williamson Starr is a popular scholar-athlete at a prestigious private school across town where nobody knows her family backstory or home zip code.  She has to constantly balance being black enough to navigate her neighborhood in the shadow of her dad’s past while being palatable enough for her suburban peers to accept her as one of the “good ones.” It’s a precarious balance, but…

Love and Vandalism

Love and Vandalism.  Laurie Boyle Crompton. 2017. 366 pages. Sourcefire Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] They had me at graffiti.  They kept me with this heartbreaking/uplifting story. Rory is the town’s secret vandal. She’s been tagging lions under the cover of night, somehow dodging the watchful eye of her sergeant father who’s forbidden her from art. She’s remained anonymous until Hayes catches her one evening, but instead of turning her in, he turns her into his own personal tour guide.  It’s definitely blackmail, but Rory sees an opportunity to complete her magnum opus – painting a lion on top of the town’s water tower. This is definitely a compelling story that tackles several sensitive topics.  Hayes is recovering from an addiction, so it’s quite interesting to see how how he comes to terms with the damage he’s done to others near him and how he tries to put his life back together in a new place.  Rory initially seems like an angsty teenager who just wants to rebel for the sake of being combative. Her fractured relationship with her  suspicious father and near idol-worship of her artist mother factor prominently. It’s not immediately clear why her father is so adamant…

Blog Tour: My Kind of Crazy

My Kind of Crazy. Robein Reul. 2016. 338 pages. Sourebooks Fire. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] This book has a lot with it. From the normal teenage angst to the tough realities of life’s unpredictability, My Kind of Crazy is an honest – yet sometimes hilarious – glimpse into teenage life. It starts off interesting enough – Hank wants to WOW his crush, Amanda, with an unforgettable prom-prosal. He can’t possibly show her how much his heart is aflame for her without sparklers spelling out “prom” on her front lawn. Too bad it doesn’t go quite as he plans, and he nearly torches her house in the process. Luckily, the quiet, slightly quirky girl-next-door (or at least across the street), Peyton comes to his rescue, which sets in motion a story that’s as heartbreaking as it is endearing.


Twisted. Hannah Jayne. 2016. 320 pages. Sourcebooks Fire. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Life’s a bit challenging when you’re the daughter of an alleged serial killer. Bex Andrews, neé Beth Anne Reimer, knows this all to well. When she was 7, her father was dubbed the “the Wife Collector,” after a series of mysterious kidnappings and murders in North Carolina. Now 17, Bex has an opportunity to escape her traumatizing past, with a fresh start 200 miles away. She’s made new friends, has doting foster parents, and even has a caring boyfriend. The best part is that none of them know her troubled lineage. So why does it feel like she’s still in her father’s shadow? Twisted pulled me in from the start, so much so that I neglected all of my responsibilities to finish it.

Blog Tour: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Advance Reader Copy , Young Adult / April 20, 2016

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. Jeff Strand. 2016. 272 pages.  Sourcebooks Fire. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Aspiring filmmakers Justin, Bobby, and Gabe have three failed movies under their belts.  But that doesn’t stop them from committing themselves to creating an unforgettable cinematic masterpiece … about zombies … filmed with next-to-no budget … over the next month. Lesser directors might balk at the task, but these three 15 year olds jump right into it, with minimal regrets. The comedy follows the team’s antics as they try to convince their community — and themselves — that “The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever” (that’s the working title …) will be made and it will be epic. There are quite a few bumps along the way, between a hysterically crying starlet, a destroyed camera, a car crash for the director, and a burned down house with all their zombie costumes inside. These kids alternate between the best luck ever and Murphy’s Law, which is entertaining without being completely hokey.